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Water soluable wax


#1

Dear All,

I have been playing with water soluable wax. Are there any water
soluable wax fanatics in here who want to exchange experiences?

It’s not so easy to get documented about wax. Tsuyuki and Ohba
(‘Practical Wax Modeling’ - good book) do not mention water soluable
wax at all (they mention something else, namely Mitsuro, which is a
combination of soft wax, impression wax and pine resin. This looks
interesting too, as Mitsuro is stretchable and develops a very
organic look while being stretched; they also explain how to make
it); Kallenberg (‘Modeling in Wax for Jewelry and Sculpture’ - very
useful book) mentions water soluable wax only en passant (he devotes
less than one page to it).Other authors do not mention it (for ex.
Matiello, ‘Jewelry Wax Modeling’ - nice cover).

Water soluable wax can be melted. It keeps its initial properties
after cooling down. These properties are rather frustrating, as the
wax is ‘fat’, it sticks to the hands, is difficult to saw - I used
two spiral blades at the same time, but a decent wood saw would do
much better - and is difficult to file. Whatever file you use, it
will clog. However, these are not major problems, as it is well
possible to make a form in the wax that is close to the one you had
in mind, although the wax will not take any fine details. It’s
possible to ‘polish’ it and give it some shine - you can use your
fingers for this.I made a couple of cone forms (for pendants; they
are still try outs). I heated a bur and put the hot bur in the
soluable wax, as to give me a handle (on the top of the piece). I
then took what most Americans call a wine glass, but what we, in
Europe, call a long drink. A ‘flute’, which is a sort of recipient
commonly used by the lower classes and the nouveaux riches to consume
Champagne, would be ideal. Anyway, I melted some soft pink sheet wax,
poured the wax in the long drink and stuck the soluable wax in the
molten pink wax. The soluable wax got beautifully coated. Whereas the
soluable wax keeps its properties after cooling, the pink sheet wax
does not. Originally, this wax is very sensitive to heat and all
sorts of manipulation. It’s not meant to be filed. However, after
cooling down the sheet wax becomes hard (but also brittle). It can
now be filed rather well. It’s also possible to work on it with sand
papers or steel wool. It’s possible to melt other waxes on it, for
example blue wire wax or ‘normal’ green hard carving wax. However, I
think that the rule to melt the wax with the highest melting
temperature first and to use this molten wax to melt the wax with the
lower melting temperature in order to obtain a strong bond is not
valid here. If you try this with green wax, the pink wax will
deform. Anyway, all sorts of manipulations are possible and this
opens distinct possibilities for design. One of the limitations is
that the coat, the pink wax, will need to have some holes, as
otherwise the soluable wax will not get in direct contact with the
water and, by consequence, will not disappear. Once you are pleased
with your work, you can heat a bit of water - I heated it till appr.
80 degrees C. Put the piece in the water and the soluable wax will
start to bleed away. When the soluable wax has disappeared, cool off
the piece with cold water and hide the long drink from your wife. I
would be very interested to learn how designers use this wax. Any
is very welcome. With best regards, Will


#2
    I have been playing with water soluable wax. Are there any
water soluable wax fanatics in here who want to exchange
experiences? 

Carles Codina has a page (p. 120) on this wax in his book “The
Complete Book of Jewelry Making” (ISBN 1579901883) where he uses it
to do hollow cast replicas of pebbles. While it is a good page with
detailed pictures I realize that it is probably not going to add
much to your own list of references.

If I may ask, where did you get this wax? And what brand? I’ve
been interested in trying it but have only received blank looks when
I ask for it at the jewellery suppliers I know here in Paris.

The Complete Book of Jewelry Making: 
A Full-Color Introduction To The Jeweler's Art
Hardcover: 160 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.77 x 12.04 x 9.44 
Publisher: Lark Books; (December 2000) 
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1579901883/theganoksinpr-20

Best,
Trevor.


#3

Back many years ago, when I didn’t do a lot of fabrication, I had a
project that needed to be molded. The difficulty was that the
slightest deformation in the mold upon pulling the wax out, ruined
the design. So, I inserted a form made of water soluble wax and had
a RTV mold made with the water soluble wax supporting the form of
the model. I couldn’t get anyone to try to put water soluble wax
into their wax injector (this was pre-Orchid days) so I had to hand
make each insert. Fortunately the water soluble support was not a
complex design. I then inserted the water soluble support into the
mold and injected wax into the mold and around the support. The
injected wax stuck to the water soluble wax so when the wax was
removed it did not contort at all. Then all I did was soak the
whole thing in water until the injected wax was free. Ultimately it
was enough to convince me that I needed to increase my fabrication
skills. Perhaps this technique can be used by others.

Larry


#4

Hi Trevor, I know Codina’s book and I like it.

This wax is easy to get here in the USA. I bought mine at Gesswein
(www.gesswein.com). You can also look at www.contenti.com. I don’t
know the brand. It only comes in a plastic bag without any
Since you are in Europe, try www.cookson.com (they are
in London and in Dublin - catalog is online, but you need to register
first, giving proof that you are professional).

Let me know how it goes. Btw, I just thought of something. There
might be a much simpler method to make a hollow piece than the one I
described. Why not use a piece of investment instead of soluble wax?
Investment can be manipulated very well (better than the wax). Of
course, you need to wear a respirator.

With best regards,
Will